HADLEY, Mass. – The NESCAC announced its 2010 Fall All-Academic selections today, with 547 student-athletes that participated in a fall sport earning All-Academic recognition. To be honored, a student-athlete must have reached sophomore academic standing and be a varsity letter winner with a cumulative grade point average of at least 3.35. A transfer student must have completed one year of study at the institution.
Beginning this academic year, sophomores are eligible to receive recognition on the All-Academic team. Among the 547 student-athletes that earned Fall All-Academic were 149 individuals who garnered the honor for the second year in a row. In addition, 68 players had All-Academic and All-Conference accolades bestowed upon them this fall, with 29 of those individuals coming from Middlebury (15) and Williams (14), while 45 individuals received All-Sportsmanship and All-Academic. Three individuals claimed honors on all three teams: senior men’s golfer Jim Levins (Rutland, Vt.) and junior men’s soccer player Robbie Redmond (Morristown, N.J.) of Middlebury along with Tufts senior field hockey player Jess Perkins (Barrington, R.I.).
Notable members among the 2010 Fall All-Academic Team include the Middlebury trio of Brian Cady (Rye, N.Y.), Jane Handel (Evanston, Ill.) and Harrison Watkins (San Francisco, Calif.) along with Williams’ Jennifer Gossels. Cady earned NESCAC Player of the Year after finishing first at the NESCAC Golf Fall Qualifier on Oct. 2-3. Sitting in a two-way tie for ninth with a three-over score of 74 following day one, Cady came out firing on day two with his lowest round of the fall, carding a tournament-low 68 (-3). The performance propelled him to the top of the leader board with an even-par 142 as Sunday drew to a close. In addition to being named Player of the Year, Cady also received All-NESCAC recognition in his third consecutive conference event. Named to the First Team this fall, Cady was a member of the Second Team in 2007 and again in 2008. His performance helped the Panthers claim the right to host the spring championship round.
Handel was chosen by the conference coaches as the Volleyball Player of the Year. A solid all-around performer for the Panthers, Handel ranked in the top 10 in the league in both kills and digs, averaging 3.06 kills (7th NESCAC) and 3.84 digs (9th) per set while hitting at a .237 clip. After opening the 2010 campaign with All-Tournament Team honors at the Endicott Invitational, Handel helped her Middlebury squad match its best performance in a decade as they went 8-2 in conference play, won the 2010 NESCAC Volleyball Championship, reached the NCAA Tournament for only the second time in program history, and finished with 25 wins, the most in over 10 years. The 2008 NESCAC Rookie of the Year, Handel added All-NESCAC honors to her resume for the third consecutive season with a second-straight appointment to the First Team.
In addition to being named NESCAC Men’s Soccer Player of the Year, Watkins was recognized on the All-NESCAC First Team for the second consecutive fall. The dynamic back was part of a defense that allowed 11 goals over 21 games while also tallying five times. Watkins’ five goals matched his career-high which he achieved a year ago. The Panther defense stymied opponents all season long and Watkins was a key component to their success. Through 21 games, Middlebury posted 14 shutouts and allowed on average roughly 2.9 shots on goal per game. Watkins has been a part of one of the most successful periods in program history. The Panthers went 59-13-9 over his four years with a school-record 18 wins and a first-ever NCAA title in his rookie season, two NESCAC crowns, and four consecutive trips to the conference title game.
After finishing sixth at her first NESCAC meet last fall, Gossels won the NESCAC Women’s Cross Country individual title this year with a time of 22:13.8 over the 6-kilometer course. Her performance not only earned her Most Outstanding Performer honors but also made her a member of the All-NESCAC First Team for the second year in a row. She went on to win the NCAA New England Regional crown on her home course on Nov. 13, besting the field of 336 runners in a course-record time of 21:42.7, then followed a week later at the national championship with a second place showing (21:00.8), just 13 seconds behind the top finisher. Gossels was also recognized by the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association this season as the New England Region Athlete of the Year.
Nineteen representatives from two national championship squads were also on the Fall All-Academic team. The Middlebury women’s cross country team won its sixth NCAA title on Saturday at Wartburg College in Waverly, Iowa, and 12 members from the Panthers garnered NESCAC All-Academic. A day later, the Bowdoin field hockey team won its third NCAA championship in the past four years down at Christopher Newport University in Newport News, Va., besting Messiah in penalty strokes for a 2-1 win. The Polar Bears had seven players from its team on the All-Academic list, including senior Ingrid Oelschlager (Roanoke, Va.), who was honored late last week by the National Field Hockey Coaches Association as the New England West Region Player of the Year.
Founded in 1971, the New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) consists of 11 liberal arts colleges and has consistently reflected its commitment to the values of athletics and academic achievement. The member colleges of the conference are Amherst College, Bates College, Bowdoin College, Colby College, Connecticut College, Hamilton College, Middlebury College, Trinity College, Tufts University, Wesleyan University, and Williams College.